Inspiring Women prides itself on providing high quality speakers with inspiring stories to share however the story itself can only go so far – delivery is key. But what makes a great public speaker?
Create a Picture
A successful talk should last longer than the delivery itself. It will inspire an audience member enough to transfer that inspiration to internal motivation; internal motivation that then leads to positive action. There needs to be a lasting memory in order to achieve this and the best way of enabling this is to create a picture. The best public speakers create a lasting picture through their words alone. If you are delivering a speech try to think of an image that you can build. Perhaps it might be a juggler if you are managing different priorities or a snakes and ladders board if you have suffered setbacks or a brick wall with a hole in it if you are talking about a success you have had moving through what are seemingly unbreakable barriers.
This is practically very simple but for some can be very tough to achieve. It is important to offer audience members more than a narrator or reader of words stood on stage. The audience want to hear your story but they also want to meet you and get to know you. This has to be achieved through a talk whether it is to a room of 10 people or to an audience of 1000 people. The added value of that is so important in delivering a successful and positively memorable talk but how can we achieve this? Firstly, remove the physical barriers. The written script needs to be discarded for any credible speaker. If possible step away from the lectern; if you are given the choice opt for a roaming microphone so that you are not stuck to one spot behind a fixed microphone. Remove anything that physically separates your story from the audience. Next you need to allow your personality to shine through. Add emotion, if you are talking about something happy then demonstrate that through your body language and facial expression. You don’t need to be a great actor to deliver a successful talk but it is important to communicate using more than mere words. Be human.
Know your Anchor Points
In order to ditch the physical script, it is important to still ensure that we can follow a structure in our mind. Without any kind of structure, the danger is of a rambling talk with no key messages delivered. To achieve such a structure, create 3-4 anchor points in your mind. This allows us to talk around key points, veer away slightly if the mood of the room takes us away but always with the security of having the comfort and direction of something solid to head back to. Depending on the subject of the talk these might be 3-4 significant events, or 3-4 key words. They will be related to the picture we are building.
Being confident allows us to remove the physical barriers but it is not easy. . If you do not feel confident you need to pretend enough so that the audience believe that you are, no matter what you may be feeling inside. Removing the physical barriers will aid the impression of confidence even if we are not. Knowing your anchor points will help, so too will knowing your material. If you have been asked to deliver a speech it is likely that you are an expert. If you are talking about yourself, your own achievements or challenges than you most certainly are the expert. Combine this with accepting that is does not matter if you forget to say a few things. The audience does not know what you are intending to say. As long as we get our key points across (aided by our anchor points) it really does not matter if we don’t remember to say every single other word that we have in our story. Accepting this means that you can take the pressure off yourself so that you can be yourself. If you can get through the first few talks that you deliver when you are not feeling 100% confident you will get there. Experience is the best builder of confidence.
And this is the most important of all. Our favourite comedians generally are those who speak about things that we can relate to. Micky Flanagan’s “going out-out” story is something that many of us relate to. Micky became like us, he was accessible. Delivering a speech does not need to hit the comedic heights of Live at the Apollo, although the use of some humour is valuable, but we need to be like our audience. What makes us human? What can we talk about that they will relate to? When you are delivering a speech, you want to see the knowing nods from the audience, the ‘yes I have been there and done that’ nod, because then you are more likely to achieve the aim of taking the audience with you; to a place they may not have been yet but may do one day having been inspired by your speech.
If you would like further support and advice on public speaking please contact Inspiring Women
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